Cycle Sport’s Tour de France review is now available in the UK, packed with superb photography, excellent writing, in-depth analysis and all the stories behind the headlines of the biggest race in the world. Cycle Sport is available at its usual low price of £4.10.
We’ve spoken to the Tour winner Alberto Contador for a feature which looks at his closest and toughest win yet. The Spaniard was obviously below par throughout the race, yet still managed to emerge the victor.
When you break down Contador and Schleck’s rivalry at the Tour, there were only six stages where either gained time on the other. Contador gained 42 seconds in the prologue, 10 seconds at Mende, 39 seconds at Luchon (following ‘chaingate’) and 31 seconds in the final time trial. Conversely, Schleck only gained twice – 1-13 at Arenberg and 10 seconds at Avoriaz.
A combination of experience, bluff and luck all contributed to a narrow 39-second victory. Was this the Tour when Contador stopped being an attacker, and started being a calculator?
Cycle Sport also looks at Mark Cavendish’s extraordinary Tour, from the disappointment and bad form of the opening days, through his cathartic stage win at Montargis, and the growing confidence that saw him all but unbeatable by Paris. We’ve compared Cavendish’s rate of victories at the Tour with the other prolific stage winners – he currently stands at joint 13th in the all-time list with 15. But when you consider he’s achieved those wins in four Tours, only Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault are ahead of the Manxman. Merckx had won 24 stages by his fourth Tour, while Hinault had taken 18.
Our stage-by-stage breakdown of the Tour contains interviews, eyewitness accounts, superb photography, analysis and a daily dispatch from the front line. Our reports include…
Eyewitness accounts from the ‘Classics’ stages, with superb photography of the cobbled stage. We avoided the press room and got out on the roadside at Haveluy to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and incredible racing.
Interview with Sylvain Chavanel and Jérome Pineau, the two French Quick Step riders who between them wore all three major jerseys during the first week. Chavanel took two stage wins and wore the yellow jersey twice, while Pineau held the King of the Mountains jersey for nine days.
Interview with green jersey winner Alessandro Petacchi. The Italian double stage winner ended the race under a cloud, when it was revealed a doping investigation had been opened into him before the Tour started. He won two stages, and the green jersey, through consistency and not a little luck, but insists that he is getting better, and wiser, with age.
A diary of our days riding Tour motorbikes. We spent two days right in amongst the riders, on stages six and 15, seeing the race from a unique perspective, and brushing arms with the riders.
Geraint Thomas interview. The Welshman rescued Sky’s Tour with an incredible performance in stage three over the cobbles, coming second to Thor Hushovd in Arenberg, and holding the white jersey until the race hit the Jura mountains.
We decided to get a different perspective on the Tour in the Alps by sending an artist to the race. Simon Scarsbrook took his sketchpad and paints to Avoriaz and the rest day at Morzine, to record his own visual impressions of the Tour for a unique feature.
An interview with Nicolas Roche, who finished 15th overall in the Tour thanks to extraordinary stubbornness in the high mountain stages, then gaining time in the middle mountains. Roche reveals his anger at the actions of team mate John Gadret, who refused to give him a wheel when he’d suffered a puncture at a crucial moment in the Pyrenees.
An analysis of Team Sky’s Tour. The British team came up short in the Tour – we look at the good and the bad of Sky’s Tour, the tactical errors, the reluctance to implement a Plan B when it became clear Wiggins was not matching last year’s form. But also the extraordinary performance of Geraint Thomas, and the consistent results of Edvald Boasson Hagen, who’d lost much preparation time in the spring owing to injury.
Jonathan Vaughters could be seen as a model of how to tear up Plan A, and rescue a Tour de France from disaster. He explains to us how catastrophic it was when they lost their main GC contender and main sprinter to crashes early in the race, and reveals how they motivated the team to rebuild. In doing so, they discovered yet another GC hope – Ryder Hesjedal, who rode incredibly well to finish seventh.
Interview with the revelation of the Tour, fifth placed Jurgen Van den Broeck. The Belgian is as quiet as he is strong, but he and his team manager Marc Sergeant explain how he matched and exceeded his pre-Tour expectations. Initially, Sergeant had wanted Van den Broeck to target the climber’s jersey, but the Belgian refused, convinced he could finish in the top 10.
We analyse Andy Schleck’s Tour de France. Was 2010 a sign that he is capable of winning the biggest race in the world, or did he just blow the biggest chance he’s ever had? Is he too nice to win the Tour?
The newspaper of record of the Tour de France is French sports daily L’Equipe. We’ve analysed L’Equipe’s coverage of the Tour, picking out the stories that matter.
Also in the magazine:
– Tour room mates – what’s it like to share a room with the same rider for three weeks?
– Fight! Fight! Fight! Techniques and tactics for those inevitable finish line scraps.
– Life in the Grupetto. Jeremy Hunt takes us through a day in the mountains.
– A day in the Broomwagon. Our man Ellis Bacon hitches a lift in the Tour’s last vehicle, but doesn’t get to peel off any race numbers.
– Tour virgins – we talk to a few of the Tour de France first-timers.
– Our man Matt Walsh barely escapes with his life as he spends three days with the fans in the Pyrenees.
Plus…all our regular features – Graham Watson shares his best pictures from the Tour; Broomwagon with a fair, accurate and contemporaneous look at the month’s events; Shop Window Tour Special; Toto; Q&A with Steve Cummings; Top 10 funny things about the Tour de France and much, much more.
All this is available for our usual incredibly low price of £4.10. Cycle Sport’s Tour Review is on sale in the UK from Wednesday August 4, and will be available later in the US.